Do ultrasonic bark control devices work?

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There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about how to get a dog to stop barking. There is a multitude of training and technology options available. What do you choose?

Do ultrasonic bark control devices work? 

In short: they can. The technology is sound but it depends on the dog. Fortunately, many manufacturers and online retailers have a money-back guarantee, so you can buy risk-free.

First, a short primer on how these devices work. These devices might be kept in the house, outside or even attached to the dog as a collar. Most have some way of detecting a bark (however, some are manual). When they are activated, the device emits a high pitched frequency which humans cannot hear but dogs can. Dogs have far superior hearing and can hear ultrasonic noises. The ultrasonic range is frequencies above 20,000 hertz. This is the upper limit of sound that is audible to humans. Dogs can hear up to 45,000 hertz, which is the range of these devices. It is unpleasant and uncomfortable to hear to dogs, and the dog theoretically will stop barking.

Now, why theoretically? Well, it’s not guaranteed. For example, elderly dogs often have diminished hearing and might ignore the ultrasonic noise. Some dogs might even get agitated and start barking louder. With others, the devices will work perfectly. It’s impossible to know without trying it yourself.

That being said, you’ll find countless online reviews of grateful dog owners. The device is quite inexpensive (far less expensive than professional dog training). If it works, you get a device that stops a major nuisance of dog ownership. That means better relations with your neighbors, better sleep at night, no nuisance when you have guests come over, all for less than $50. For many, it’s worth a try.

Since it might not work, it’s best to buy something with a money-back guarantee. Many manufacturers have excellent return policies. Some online retailers will accept a return, so you’ll be double protected.

Are there any other catches?

It’s good t know that set up is quite easy with these devices. You’ll be up and running in less than ten minutes.

Before buying, check if the battery is rechargeable or you’ll need to buy batteries.

Ultrasonic refers to sound frequencies above 20,000 hertz, which is the upper limit of sound that is generally audible to the human ear. Dogs have much more sensitive hearing – up to 45,000 hertz – so anti-barking products use frequencies in that higher-frequency range.

Frequently Asked Questions

It sounds like a hassle to buy to see if it works. Is there anything else I can do?

This is understandable, as some people do not like returning items. You do have some options. You can buy a dog whistle, which also emits an ultrasonic sound. Or maybe you could borrow an anti-bark device from a friend.

Where should I buy the bark control device?

Go with a retailer that offers a strong return policy. And when you buy it, be sure to try it out as soon as you can so you will be able to return it if you need to.

Are anti-bark devices cruel?

No. The sounds do not hurt the ear of dogs. The only time it could be cruel is if the device malfunctions and emits the noise continuously without stopping. But you’ll be able to see that (most devices have a light that indicates a sound is being emitted) and can return the device for exchange or refund.

What are the alternatives to these devices?

You can buy a dog whistle, which is cheaper but these might be a hassle to use. You’ll have to blow into it whenever your dog barks and that might be inconvenient.

Alternatively, you could do training but that will take hundreds of dollars, many hours and months to develop.

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